Thursday, March 29, 2007

Do You Know Where Your 52 Legos Are?

This essay from the National Review by John J. Miller is certainly food for thought. The article details a story that's been tossed around by bloggers for a while now, about how a school (day care?) called the Hilltop Children's Center in Seattle, WA banned Legos for a while due to concerns that children were acting like capitalists as they built their little imaginary structures; that is, they all wanted the 'good' pieces, they didn't particularly want to share, and there was some competition among the children as to whose structure would be the biggest. Of course, the children were also acting like children, but one wouldn't expect the Eurofied denizens of Seattle to know how children behave, as most of them have never seen one (other than in the movies, of course).

One detail from Mr. Miller's essay struck me, however. The Lego company says that everyone on Earth has about 52 Legos!

That means, as a family of five (so far) we ought to have 260 Legos lying around. We have about 52 altogether, and if it hadn't been for a little Lego Batman/Catwoman set purchased because the girls are in their Superhero phase, we wouldn't have any at all.

I'm sure that our other 208 Legos are more than accounted for by the girls' many 'boy cousins.' It's a comforting thought.

But back to Mr. Miller's article: the teachers at the Hilltop Children's center remind me of the silly adults in a masterful story by the great Saki, titled The Toys of Peace.

Like Saki's characters, the folly of the adults in the Hilltop story is that they don't remember what it is like to be children, to have imaginations unbounded by the limits of the world. That tall building made of Legos reaches to the sky; the one next to it is important because it is purple, and has large windows; the one a little further down the street may teeter precariously on uneven sides, but it is precious beyond the grasp of an adult mind, because it is fashioned with the diligent love of an uncritical creator. As are we.

It is an act of almost unspeakable pride to paint such creations with lessons from the adult world about political economy and competing philosophies regarding the distribution of wealth. The teachers' motives may or may not be pure; they may be socialists because they really believe socialism will give relief to the poor, or they may be garden-variety socialists who mask their own covetousness with the apparently selfless veneer of socialism. In this they're not unlike the child who destroys everyone's tower of Legos because he can't have them all, or at least the 52 belonging to his nearest neighbors.


matilda said...

Yes, we have your missing Legos over here and I sure wish you would come and take the home already! : )

Red Cardigan said...

LOL :)

We'll trade! Legos for some of the approximately 80 million tiny plastic shoes from Polly Pocket dolls!